Bananarama

Similarly, I'd have thought that Young At Heart spending four weeks at number one and becoming the 12th biggest selling song of 1993 would have gained them some coin, albeit only via writing credits and clearly not being a song they've recorded since 1990.
I believe only Siobhan is credited as a writer in The Bluebells version, and in fact, when it went to #1 in 1993, she was taken to court along with The Bluebells' singer Robert Hodgens by I can't remember who, who claimed to have also written it (and won, so he's also gaining royalties now).

The Bananarama original (which credits Sara & Keren) had some different lyrics to The Bluebells version, so I always assumed that was the duo's contribution to it.
 
Change a word, take two-thirds.
I don't think it is just a word here and there. Keren is very good about vocal arrangements and she often gets writing credits for that. My guess is that Siobhan came in with the lyrics and they all 3 worked with the producers on how they wanted the song to sound. Thus, they all got writing credits.

As for Jacquie not being on the songwriting credits, Jacquie said that she was in the studio when songs were written and she did contribute to ideas here and there, but she said Sara was the main lyricist.

We also know that sometimes the producers come to them with a chorus already written, and they just write the verses: Tripping On Your Love, Don't Step On My Groove (original chorus offered to Sophie Ellis-Bextor for Get Over You), and Look On The Floor, which the chorus is Hypnotic Tango. I'm sure there are others, but those are only ones I can think of at the moment.
 
I don't think it is just a word here and there. Keren is very good about vocal arrangements and she often gets writing credits for that. My guess is that Siobhan came in with the lyrics and they all 3 worked with the producers on how they wanted the song to sound. Thus, they all got writing credits.

As for Jacquie not being on the songwriting credits, Jacquie said that she was in the studio when songs were written and she did contribute to ideas here and there, but she said Sara was the main lyricist.

We also know that sometimes the producers come to them with a chorus already written, and they just write the verses: Tripping On Your Love, Don't Step On My Groove (original chorus offered to Sophie Ellis-Bextor for Get Over You), and Look On The Floor, which the chorus is Hypnotic Tango. I'm sure there are others, but those are only ones I can think of at the moment.

I’m not implying they just did what they were told and had no musical input (although Mike Stock more or less states that their songwriting contributions during the SAW/SW era were very minimal, if not totally absent, other than Siobhan coming up with some song titles, based on @SmashHitter ’s podcast series). I’m just saying that it appears unlikely that the shared songwriting credits were always warranted. Granted, it was a sensible agreement - for any band - to share royalties equally, in terms of maintaining group harmony. I’m not a fan, though, of undeserved songwriting credits - I would rather know who actually wrote what.

Keren seems to have been the most technically-proficient vocalist of the original three (and I admit that as a massive Siobhan fan).

‘Reason for Living’ is an interesting one, as only SAW are credited as writers, while Dallin/Fahey/Woodward are credited on ‘I Want You Back’. We know Keren hates the song.
 
Yeah, but unlike Pete, I don’t imagine his claims about his contribution to SAW songs is exaggerated. He was the main songwriter.

I would have agreed with you because his body of work speaks for itself but his steadfast refusal to acknowledge that they borrowed from (/completely ripped off) other songs eg Give Me Up/I Heard a Rumour (even when presented with clear-cut evidence!) on the SAW podcast has made me doubt his accounts of what happened.
 
I would have agreed with you because his body of work speaks for itself but his steadfast refusal to acknowledge that they borrowed from (/completely ripped off) other songs eg Give Me Up/I Heard a Rumour (even when presented with clear-cut evidence!) on the SAW podcast has made me doubt his accounts of what happened.

Oh I must have forgotten him saying that about Rumour. That is bizarre, when it’s so obviously a rip-off.
 
I'd imagine Wow was a tricky period for all to be involved. The tension with and often absence of Siobhan, Keren was a new Mum, SAW being very 'this is what we do' and the group being much the same. If anything, it's a miracle it worked out so well but then again, as the likes of 'Rumours' showed tension in a band can work wonders.

I want you back is the most generic SAW type track of them all. You can imagine Sinitta doing that pretty easily so I can understand Keren not being fussed by it. I think I can't help it has some generic SAW style too but some extra bits that elevate it. I heard a rumour is literally the sound of a SAW/Bananarama supergroup
 
I Heard a Rumour/ I Can’t Help It/ I Want You Back

These songs are so great (IWYB is the weakest though) because they lean more into eurobeat and italo disco sounds. They’re a stand out amongst other SAW songs for this reason. Other SAW songs that got this treatment are Sabrina All Of Me, Sinitta I Don’t Believe In Miracles.

I Heard A Rumour is obviously a redo of Give Me Up, I Can’t Help It sounds like it could have been recorded by Company B ala Fascinated.

I would have loved for Bananarama to lean into this more. I could imagine them giving us a latin tinged euro banger like Fun Fun’s Balia Bolero.
 
Wow was an album made for blasting out the back of your dad's Ford Sierra XR4x4 while getting the shopping in from Farmfoods. It's very generic (in fact I've liked it less as I've gotten older) but it has its place in that late 80s sense of family unity. 'Happy' music for very unsettling times in a Tory era.
 
I became a fan when I Want You Back was released so that and I Can't Help It are my two favourites from WOW.

Did NZ get ‘I Can’t Help It’ after ‘I Want Choo Back’, like Oz (due to the longevity of ‘Love in the First Degree’’s success here)? That was a weird moment in retrospect - introducing new girl Jacquie, then back to Siobhan (with a new hair colour to boot), then back to Jacquie… Somehow, I don’t think I even noticed back then ddd. Though I suppose it’s not too different to Jacquie’s absence from the ‘The Greatest Hits Collection’ cover.
 
I grew up in the USA, and the second single from WOW! in the US was "I Can't Help It." I totally thought it was another Top 10 hit because our radio station (in a college town) had it on heavy rotation. All of my friends knew the song and we loved to say "Boys say, I'm good enough to eat! Mange!" It was very popular. Even MTV played the music video a lot! Thus, I remember being shocked that it only went to #47 when I saw it published in a Billboard book years later. I thought it was a typo.

In March of 1988, we found out that Siobhan left and there was a new girl named Jacquie. I got all my pop news from Star Hits, the British version of Smash Hits. However, sometimes you could get copies of Smash Hits at certain stores.

Then the next single in May of 1988 was "Love In The First Degree." I remember being in the mall with friends and stopping in at the record store. We saw the new single, and there was Siobhan on the cover. We were confused. Maybe Siobhan came back? Where was the new girl? We would hear it on the radio, but not near as much as "I Heard A Rumour" or "I Can't Help It." I don't remember seeing the video on MTV. The first time seeing the video was mixed with the Brits performance in the video cassette of the Greatest Hits Collection.

I always felt like the record company missed a big opportunity with "Love In The First Degree" in the US. I wish it had been re-recorded with Jacquie and have the vocals pitched down a bit. Also, the music could have been given a US remix. And of course, it could have been given a different video treatment. I suppose after "I Can't Help It" stalled in the charts, they weren't willing to invest more. Even though the song had been big hit elsewhere.

We finally got the single with Jacquie in September of 1988. While I think "Love, Truth & Honesty" is an awesome song, it sounded dated at the time. I heard it on the radio once. Then there was the whole Greatest Hits Collection cover question ... Is Siobhan back? Nope. The new girl was just not on the cover. We were all so curious about her so we used to stare at the photos inside.
 
Last edited:
Top